Anyone who’s ever been to Japan admires the country’s natural beauty, from the deep blue sea, to the vibrant green mountains and the amazing culture and cuisine, it’s simply irresistible. But what about the Japanese people? If you’ve ever been to Japan you must have noticed how youthful and slim they look, especially the women. Ever wondered what’s their secret?
Unlike the Western culture and lifestyle, the Japanese culture and their cuisine is what keeps them looking so vital and young. They’re focused on living healthy and eating healthy so it’s no wonder that Japan is the country with the highest rate of people who reach 100 years and more. So what’s their secret?
They don’t eat food that tastes good, they eat food that makes them feel good, that has benefits for their overall health and that’s their main secret.
This is the secret all Japanese women share and here are the 10 things that help them stay young and fit for longer than anyone else.
1. GREEN TEA
It’s no secret that Japanese love their green tea and consume it regularly. But it’s not just any green tea, their green tea comes from high quality matcha leaves which are dried and grinded to perfection. They drink their green tea ceremonially, honoring their centuries long tradition.
Green tea is an elixir of health. It’s the healthiest tea in existence, abundant in antioxidants which fight against the free radicals thus postponing the aging process. It helps you slim down, protects you from cardiovascular disorders and lowers the risk of cancer.
2. FERMENTED FOODS
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, miso, kombucha, kimchi and tempeh are extremely health beneficial and the Japanese know this for a fact and consume them on a regular basis.
The process of lacto-fermentation gives these foods their properties. What is lacto-fermentation? Well it involves creating natural bacteria which feed off the starch and sugars in the food, creating lacto acid. This process also preserves all the nutrients and adds to them some more, like vitamin B, probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids. This process also creates good intestinal bacteria which help your digestion process and the toxin elimination process as well, stimulating healthy weight loss and promoting your overall health.
Just as we Americans love our red meat, the Japanese love their seafood. But seafood is healthy while the red meat we love so much can be linked to a number of health issues, like obesity, high cholesterol and heart problems.
The Japanese eat rice or noodles with seafood almost every other day, that’s very popular in their cuisine, and it’s no wonder they live longer. Fish abounds in high quality proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients which promote brain and heart health. The omega 3s are especially helpful when it comes to reducing body fat percentage and promote skin health, while seafood in general helps reduce the risk of inflammation and promotes the nervous system function.
4. SMALLER PORTIONS
While we’re used to stuffing our faces with all the food we can eat, the Japanese have a tradition of eating smaller portions. If you eat smaller portions you’ll automatically eat less and you’ll slim down, but not by starving but by eating just enough and prevent overeating.
Eating smaller portions might even be more important for weight loss than the type of food you eat.
Here are the basic principles which the Japanese obey when it comes to home-cooked food and its presentation:
- Never fill the plates up completely.
- Never serve big portions of anything.
- The best food is fresh food.
- Always decorate your food and present it in the best way possible so that just by looking at it you feel like you’ve already eaten..
5. WALKING AS A RITUAL
Japanese people walk a lot, it’s a kind of ritual in their culture and this is very beneficial for your overall health. Walking is an excellent exercise that doesn’t require much hard work but stimulates weight loss, helps you stay fit and in shape and promotes general health and well-being.
Instead of driving or commuting to work or school, try walking, if it’s a long distance at least walk a few blocks every day, it will go a long way to good health and longevity. Riding a bicycle is also a good option, one that is also very popular in Japan.
6. NO EATING ON THE GO
When they eat, they just eat and don’t do anything else. There’s no TV on, no small talk, now working on typing on the phone. You sit down, admire the food in front of you and enjoy every bite you take. That’s why they don’t have the habit of eating on the go, while they walk or travel to work.
Eating slower, with smaller bites is also important; it gives your stomach time to process the food intake and gives your brain signals that you’re full and don’t need any more food.
7. HEALTHY COOKING METHODS
It’s not just that they eat healthy food but they also cook it in the healthiest way possible. They ate their food raw, simmered or grilled, which eliminates the need to use excess oil and helps them preserve the healthy nutrients in food.
They almost don’t use deep frying at all. In the few instances they do, like with tempura, they only serve a few pieces in combination with other healthy food to preserve the balance.
8. MARTIAL ARTS
Martial arts are very popular in Japan, there are many different types and the entire population practices them. These martial arts, like judo, karate, aikido and so on are one of the key reasons why Japanese women look so fit and youthful. Martial arts improve flexibility, cardiovascular health, increase stamina, build muscle and help the Japanese live longer.
According to a pilot study from 2013 which was published in the Clinical Medical Insights: Women’s Health practicing martial art will improve your body composition, strengthen your bones and lower the risk of inflammation in overweight premenopausal women.
9. HOT SPRING BATHS
Hot spring baths are a tradition in Japan which plays a vital role in their longevity.
They call hot spring ‘onsens’ and since they’re a volcanic country there are hundreds of thousands of these baths all across the country. These hot spring baths have healing properties and are health beneficial thanks to the water temperature and their high mineral content, including minerals like niacin, calcium, magnesium and silica.
Soaking your body in these hot springs improves the blood flow, circulation and oxygen flow throughout your entire body. This in turn benefits your heart and every other major organ in your body. It even improves your sleeping, reduces stress and improves your skin health, making you look youthful and radiant.
One of the main reasons why Japanese women look so young and beautiful is the fact that they soak in these baths at least twice a month.
10. HEALTHY DESSERTS
The Japanese kitchen doesn’t include so much sweets and desserts; they’re not as popular as they are in western cuisine. Since they don’t have the habit of eating so much sweet it’s logical to assume that this helps them stay slim.
Instead of eating sweets and pancakes, Japanese women prefer eating fruit for dessert. They do have some desserts, but they’re not loaded with refined sugars and flour and all the other ingredients that we’re known to consume so often. SO it’s normal that they don’t struggle with obesity and look so young. They use healthy ingredients like fresh fruits, sweet potatoes and buckwheat flour and their dessert portions are much smaller.